$80,000 to spend on audio equipment SUGGESTIONS PLEASE

Bill Lucas

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 20, 1999
Messages
530
Scott raises some valid points. I would be hesitant to take a job of this magnitude if I didn't have control over the construction of the room and the wiring layout. It's too large an investment to leave the construction to a builder who knows how to make walls but almost certainly knows nothing about acoustics and proper soundproofing.

Under NO circumstances would I allow an electrician to run the low voltage wiring. Inferior wire will be used and electricians know nothing about proper speaker placement, what wires to run for a projector, etc.
 

kevin_tomb

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 19, 2001
Messages
146
Im a little confused......he doesnt know much about sound or audio products, but hes allocating exactly $80000 dollars??.....
What made this the magical number? Not to be rude or anything, but he could easily spend under $20000 and get a VERY DECENT system and have a LOT left over for Music software ETC. Im just saying, if hes clueless about Home Audio, why waste a small fortune on his first try out?
Why not get a "starter" system until he learns a lot more about high end electronics. One could get a nice reasonable system with good quality components for a few thousand until he learns what hes looking for in sound. When he tires of these lower priced components retire them to the garage or basement, or sale them on EBAY. I doubt someone new to HOME AUDIO is interested in TUBES
 

Chris PC

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
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May 12, 2001
Messages
3,975
I know where to start. Spend $8000.00 on the theater equipment and use the rest of the money more constructively. Travel or buy something else.
 

Jan H

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
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Nov 6, 2001
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2,007
Geoff,

How big is his theater room? (cubic feet, dimensions)
 

Steve_Tk

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
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Apr 30, 2002
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2,833
DVD/CD Transport: Theta David II (8k)
OK humor me for a second. I don't know anything about how much the amps and all that cost. But how is a 8K DVD player better than a good 500 dollar one?

And to think my little sub $3000 system sounded good....
 

Scott Oliver

Screenwriter
Joined
Aug 30, 2000
Messages
1,159
Kevin that's good advice, but if this is a "real" person with this amount of money to afford this house and this much of a theater system, he probably doesn't want to take the time to learn about HT and slowly build upwards. He has the money, he desires it, and he wants it now not later.

Take for example a Rock star off of MTV Cribs like that Backstreet Boy with the nice dedicated HT room (A.J.?) for example. He probably spent around 80K on his system, but at the same time he probably knows absolutely nothing about what his system is comprised of. All he knows or wants to know is that it operates easily, it plays loud, sounds good, looks good, and can impress friends.
 

RichardH

Supporting Actor
Joined
Nov 28, 2000
Messages
742
If it were my money (and I wouldn't spend that much money), here's what I would do:
M&K Professional powered speakers all around.
I think for 7.1 including a sub or two that comes to around $25k.
Lexicon MC-12B (balanced) $9k
PS Audio A/C regenerators (totally black noise floor)
~$10k
Professional acoustic treatments/design, etc. ~$20k
This should sound like a room at Skywalker Sound if done correctly

IMO spending more money on huge B&W or JM Lab speakers is really kind of pointless because you're hitting those dimishing returns quite severely, plus movies are mixed on systems just like the one described. Your friend will be hearing them just as they were intended.
Plus, passive crossovers have no place in an $80k system IMO.
For a separate music system, you might consider a tri-amped or quad-amped Dunlavy system. Many music mastering studios use Dunlavy's.
 

TommyL

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 27, 2002
Messages
590
IF this is going to happen, I would just have the guy fly someone in from a hifi store, and have them take a look at the surroundings...there is very little chance that anything we suggest will happen to be "the one"...too many "IF'S" ....I'm sure it is true as many people have money to burn this day in age...Heck, my boss just added another 1.5 million 2500 sq foot "trophy room" to his house...its not impossible, man..I wouldn't mind adding a 1.5 million dollar HT system to mine lol...now thats some serious system there...I have talked with guys that have 5k in cables alone...it doesn't take long to have 5 figures into it.....fun to think about, but I'm into investing
 

John A. Casler

Second Unit
Joined
Apr 29, 1999
Messages
475
Geoff,
YGPM
All the comments about (ASAP) making sure the room is "built" and wired correctly are 100% on the money.
$80,000 can be quickly eaten by trying to correct mistakes and or unplanned development of the space.
Much more information is needed for anyone to begin planning the Theater. Everything from who is going to use it(family members), to what type of display devices are required need to be in place. Placing wiring in a celing and cutting for a projector can be costly and troublesome after the fact.
Even windows, their coverings and facing directions need to be planned and discussed. If your friend waits too long he is either going to be looking at paying huge amounts to "redo" the things that would be simple to do now.
He also needs a professional installer. The electrician is "not" qualified,(as in experienced)nor does he "want" to run this wiring. Additionally the General Contractor needs specific and monitored direction. And let me assure you, the GC wants no part of the responsibility of doing this with limited, "put some speaker wires here", instructions.
If you really want to help your friend, make sure he seeks the help of a qualified professional, or else he will end up paying too much for a mediocre system.
This type of project has to first be analyzed and a "proportioned" budget established as per the job and system priorities. Without this type of planning you will not succeed.
It is sure a great bit if fun to do a "what if" with all of us and see what we would do if we won the lottery and could "throw" $80,000 at our toys. But it is another thing to really plan the utilization of these funds down to cables and connectors.
It can take weeks, to massage this input into the real system. There are thousands of questions about prefernces and uses.
Then this has to be developed into a custom designed "matched" system of parts that will produce the whole for the owner. Each and every component, speaker, cable and connector must be up to the task and provide its link in the system according to what the customer expects.
This is no "unbox, wire it up, and plug and play" project.
As you can tell, I do this type of thing and I PMd you that I would be happy
to help, (since I'm in PV 3 x a week)
But even if you don't contact me, help your friend find someone qualified.
Best of luck,
John Casler
 

KeithR

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 26, 2001
Messages
258
I would go Triad Platiums for speaks for sure.

However, I would give Dennis Erskine a call and have him do it...he is unbelievable from everything i have read (and is a huge triad fan....and has had customers witch from B&W Nautilus and Revel Salons to them)

For 80k I would bet the room is the biggest problem/cost.
 

Ron AZ

Agent
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Messages
25
wouldn't we all like an $80,000 budget ... you cannot just write checks to the tune of $80,000 and expect your have an awesome HT. You have to do your 'homework'. Your in Palos Verde, drive down the I-405 to Lake Forest exit, just south of the Irvine Spectrum (I-405 & I-5 junction)... go to GENESIS AUDIO, they have a couple good demo rooms. If your friend really wants to see a couple great demo rooms and ever gets to the Phoenix area...SOUNDS LIKE MUSIC has several awesome demo rooms...and if you by chance he ever gets to Belleview, WA... DEFINITIVE AUDIO has about 8 HT demo rooms... These last 2 places are first class and well worth the investment of time and money to visit. As several people have said in this thread, construction is vital, and easy to do right in the construction phase of the home being built. Don't make your equipment have to cover-up or make-up for poor constuction. Your wasting your money and your equipment if you do. Also... contact WIDESCREEN MAGAZINE in Temecula, CA (off RT I-15, northeast of San Diego).. they have a state-of-the-art HT built there. good luck...Ron AZ
 

rodneyH

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 22, 2001
Messages
844
My uncle recently put a system that costs about $100,000+ in his second home. some of the major components are

Proceed Pre-amp
Proceed Amps all the way around (I would have gone levinson)
Proceed DVD transport
Revel Salons
Revel Gems (rear)
Revel sub 15
Revel voice (center)
over $25K in cables (I have NO idea which brand)
2 Sony 9000ES DVD/sacd players (synched like this-remember when you use to be young and a short mini film would play before the "main attraction", well he has it hooked up so the 1 player will play the "short film" and the next one will play the "main attraction" without pushing any buttons, turning on the lights, etc.. it is all pre-programed (I have NO idea how)

and the typical drop down screen, projector, etc...

He also has the theater seating throughout that slops down and the velvet certain that opens

He also has a old fashion theater ticket office at the entrance (that was designed after the one he use to go to whan he was a kid in a small town) and a popcorn machine and candy selfs.

As far as Genesis goes, if you go with them, they will TELL you what you want instead of you having much of a choice. My Uncle first went there and they started to pull this kind of crap and bragging about how they did so many high end systems etc....They really didn't want to let him take the time to decide and AUDITION the stuff, tehy just wanted to talk about ow much $ he wanted to spend and the stuff that he "needs to buy". He really got offended, since he happens to be an audiophile as well, and really wanted to audition the stuff, yet they seemed to not focus on that part of it. He simply shook his head and walked out. If you are arrogant and think you are going to make every sale, you better think again, some people don't want the salesman to spend the $$ for them, but want to spend it themselves, with a little help.

In the meantime, I am sure Genesis continues to sell nice systems to people who have no idea about audio (they out together a system for some friends of ours for around $20K, with Marantz and Linn stuff that SOUNDS LIKE a $3K system, but the freind doesn't realize it, b/c he doesn't have an idea what it is supposed to sound like (I certainly am not going to tell him).
 

rodneyH

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 22, 2001
Messages
844
btw, I would much rather go to audiovideotoday in westminster (North Orange county) and deal with those guys than Genesis (and I live very close to Genesis).
 

Mark Seaton

Supporting Actor
Joined
Oct 10, 1999
Messages
599
Real Name
Mark Seaton
Geoff,

For this level of system, a retail outfit will NOT provide what he really needs. Unfortunately he is thinking about this a little late in the game, but not so late that things can't be put in place.

I have been involved with a few projects of this caliber and even some multiples of this. Finding the right designer/installer is critical and there is certainly no "best" for everyone. He has to find someone who can understand his needs and how he will use the system. I think I'm going to strangle the next retailer I come across who sells a customer $30-50k in pretty boxes and doesn't provide a means to reliably control it!

I know of a few operations in CA who I have worked with in the past and would be happy to help put your friend in contact with whoever is best suited for his situation. While it is possible that he won't be able to get an outside installer into the home before completion for contract reasons, he should have the installer consulting and co-ordinating with the builder and his subs. A major consideration in his choice of designer/installer is how the project will be managed.

As large a budget as this is, let me put this in perspective where I am currently setting up a demo system here in Chicago where the loudspeakers alone would eat more than half of this budget. Of course we also know what sort of result we will be getting before we build the room.

Feel free to e-mail or PM me.
 

Arnel Enero

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
May 2, 2002
Messages
106
I agree with the idea of looking at what the best professional mixing studios (such as those in Hollywood) have in their setup, and try to come as close to that.
Why? The ultimate goal of HT is to hear the sound intended by the creator of the soundtrack. You experience that exact same thing when you watch the movie direct from the masters in the exact same place where the mixed was finalized. You can't do the former, although DVD should sound close, but least you can try to mimick the latter by the way you configure your HT.
Hope I made sense at all.
 

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